July 20, 2010

My Clarity of Night contest entry

Hullo everyone, I've been busy.  I don't apologize for not blogging, but I do apologize for not reading and commenting on your blogs as I normally do.  It's been just too busy with work, work travel, family vacations, and all that.

Jason Evans has a new contest going over at his Clarity of Night blog.  The title is "Uncovered," and the photo prompt was inspired by the most excellent Stephen Parrish's most excellent debut novel, The Tavernier Stones.

Below are both the photo prompts and my entry into the contest.  I did not set out to write a poem; it's just what came out when I wrote my first attempt, realized it was crap, and then got the hell out of the way of my muse.  Also, I realize now that the dark gem is an emerald, not a sapphire, but what the hell.  It's only a prompt, right?  I don't have to stick exactly to every detail, right?


SMOLDERING
As slow as winter, fear seeped into our speech.

Its icy tendrils crept among our minds and
Insinuated themselves around our hearts.
Its fragments latched onto words and tumbled
Through our cabled veins on the blood
Of twenty-four seven news.

Politicians and pundits coiled and bit,
Rattling their tails and sabers.
Their forked tongues spit venomous words:
FascHISSt.  SocialHISSt.

TerrorHISSt.

We wrapped ourselves in unfurled flags
Against fear’s relentless freeze.
In the false heat of patriotism,
We danced around crackling pages
Consumed
Focused on the flames
Ignorant
Of ashes that rose and collapsed
To smother us under
a silent, colorless blanket.

Buried deep, our collective soul
Smoldered and survived
Until the blue, white, and red embers
Of our better selves rekindled
Melted away our fear
To shine and sparkle once more.

8 comments:

fairyhedgehog said...

I like that. Good luck!

jjdebenedictis said...

FascHISSt. SocialHISSt.

That is the best line! Good luck in the contest! (I entered for the first time; now my ego is dangling precariously off the possibility of making the 40s club.)

Aerin said...

Pete, Pete, Pete. You're not going to comment on every finalist, are you?? Brown-noser. I just can't. I just cannot stomach some of them. I know, I'm a snobby bitch and I won't make 40s club this go round. Karma's also a bitch.

Now, having said that - I didn't know if you'd read the initial post, and what Steve said he looks for in Flash Fiction - that sort of last line aha. When I started reading your poem (your poetry is, as ever, top-notch), I worried how you'd get that aha ending. And you did!! Nicely done, sir.

If you win again, though, I might have to put worms in your bed in November.

Peter Dudley said...

Hedgie, thank you! Mine is entry #33 apparently, but I don't know yet if I've made the 40s club.

Jen, thanks! I have a hard time believing I'm the first to come up with that particular pun, but I haven't seen it before. GOOD LUCK to you with your very first entry!

Aerin, I will have to see if I'll comment on them all or not. I find reading them fun, and if I'm going to do the work of reading it, I'm going to get credit for it by making my name seen in the comments trail, dammit!

So are you entering something? I've been out of touch recently, online only through my blackberry or intermittent moments. If you do submit something, be sure to post it (or email it). Yours always SHOULD be in the 40s club even if they don't make it sometimes.

Also, thanks for the "top-notch" comment. I wasn't really worried about what the judges look for... I mostly wrote this for myself and hoped it would resonate. We shall see.

I am not worried about worms in November. I'd bet the full prize money that I won't win.

Robin S. said...

Beautifully done!

Sarah Hina said...

Intense and utterly unique, Peter. I've been giving each of them a quick look, and for the most part moving on, but yours held me fast.

Loved this interpretation.

Michael Morse said...

This really is great. I've been trying to capture my feelings about the media's relentless use of left vs. right, liberal vs. conservative, fascist, socialist and on and on, you nailed it. I hope to link this to my blog sometime today if time permits, hope you don't mind.

Claudia said...

Think it's really hard to write political prose - you would think they are very contrary - but I like yours a lot